Chinese cuisine has been around in the capital for a while now. And by a while, we mean long enough to acquire a Chinjabi hybrid. But the mushrooming of “authentic” joints over the last few years has made a task of picking out the right restaurant, not to mention the right looking. Our advice would be to go for the age-old comfort solution- House of Ming. “Its sumptuous offerings reflect two of the finest Chinese cooking styles, Cantonese and Schezuan.”
The 60-year old high society favorite combines old school frou-frou with modern-day cool in a calming setting. Located on the lobby level of Taj Mahal Hotel (not The Blue Bar one, the other), it brings a bit of Ming to the Indian capital with the soothing color palette, white and blue porcelain, Chinese tea house interiors and a “Yin-Yang philosophy” of designing dishes around the delicate balance of hot, sweet and sour flavors as well as the crunchy and soft.
Food & Drink
A kimchi platter followed by steamed prawn starter and Lamb cumin kicked off our afternoon tasting. While one’s a garlicy heap of succulent king prawns, the second, sliced lamb preparation ended up at our table over cooked and over cumin-ed. From among the veg selection, the Crystal dumplings could’ve been better, less gummy more crystal. But the Colocasia sticks were spot on, in a way that its arbi-ki-sabzi counterpart from our childhood never was.
Our first run in with the Chicken grain (a light broth containing ‘grain’ or poached chicken chunks, pak choi et al) and the Spinach and tofu soups was, to say the least, comforting. We must add though, if we had to pick one, we’re broth-biased. For our mains, we tried a pan-fried Chilean sea bass, Kung pao chicken, twice cooked spicy pork, a mushroom-glass noodle thingy, eggplant in a sweet and spicy sauce (our favorite), and Tofu (to cut down on the guilt).
There’s little to say about this part of the meal except how great it was. Our sea bass was pan-fried perfection, aromatic, saucy and disintegrating on the palate. The Kung pao dish was as it should be, with tender chicken bits and crunchy cashew tossed in. The second sliced-meat preparation of the day – the twice-cooked pork – came through (unlike the lamb). Not super porky, if you like that sort of thing, it was cooked in rice wine and radiant with fermented chilly.
All of the vegetarian dishes could please even the more carnivorous among us (if you notice, we’ve called the eggplant, favorite) and everything was savored with a side of glutinous rice or had with some Tong zhou fried rice forked in. Such decadent lunches are best washed down with beer (as any afternoon drinker will have you know), and ended with a fruit platter, which was wolfed down (what do you know!) with smooth vanilla ice cream.
First of, the mushroom and glass noodles thingy? Great as a solo dish! With glass noodles eliminating any need for starch, it’s a whole meal dressed in garlic sauce, with assorted mushrooms and healthy greens. The Colocasia sticks are a must-order starter that must be followed by eggplant and/or Kung pao chicken. Also, the Tong zhou fried rice, with shrimps, chicken and roasted duck is complete and completely delicious and would be great for two with just one simple main.
The critic was served tasting portions and from a customized menu
The restaurant is open for lunch from 12:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. and dinner from 7:30 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.
House of Ming – The Taj Mahal Hotel
No:1 Mansingh Rd,
Taj Mansingh Hotel Road,
New Delhi, Delhi 110011
Tel: 011 2302 6162